By Melissa Walsh Photos Yanni
With a journey in theatre spanning four decades, bubbly thespian, Cindy Pritchard, has tread the boards with fellow actors Hugh Jackman, Bert Newton, Debra Byrne, Marina Prior, Barry Otto, Nancye Hayes, Peta Toppano, Rachael Beck, June Salter, Todd McKenney, Steve Bastoni and John Waters. She’s been an original cast member in a plethora of Australian musical theatre productions including “Les Miserables”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, “Me & My Girl”, “Sweet Charity”, “Sound of Music”, and “Oliver”.
Cindy Pritchard has performed countless shows of “Fiddler on the Roof”, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and the role of Earth Mother in the Australian regional tour of “Menopause the Musical”, as well as Grandma Poss in “Possum Magic” and Miss Plum in “Hairy Maclary and Friends”, and was a regular singer, accompanied by John Foreman, for over five years on Good Morning Australia with Bert Newton.
With a love of theatre and the stage that continues to this day, Pritchard has a new incarnation as producer and cast member of a recently released feature film, “Book Week”.
“In the film I play a supporting role as Miss Vines, a no-nonsense school administrator who is fed up with the bad behaviour of teacher and suffering writer Nicholas Cutler, played by Alan Dukes,” said Pritchard, of the movie that was filmed at Katoomba and Lithgow High Schools on a shoestring budget of $100,000. “Book Week tells the story of Mr Cutler, who is forced to question his career after his second novel fails to be accepted. It is a lot of fun and a great message about the importance of reading and getting children to put down their screens and partake in other things in the world.”
It was a chance meeting with director and writer, Heath Davis that was the catalyst for Pritchard’s involvement with the film.
“Heath’s first feature film, “Broke” was being showcased at the opening of the film festival and we got chatting about the project. I became a producer after putting in some money for the crowd funding and then was asked to play the small role which I loved,” said Pritchard, who is an advocate for Australian cinema. “The film is loosely autobiographical as Heath Davis is a writer and director who teaches to earn a living.”
Never afraid of hard work, Pritchard has worked tirelessly to promote the film on social media and was thrilled at the turnout at the viewing in Rosebud and then with her home town of Orange.
“I am a firm believer in Australian cinema and supporting our writers, directors and actors but I also like to be involved with films with a strong message,” said Pritchard, who is already working on a second film called “Zarephath”.
“The next film I am involved with is called “Zarephath” which is based on the Old Testament and very close to my heart,” said Pritchard, of the film that will be filmed on location in Corowa. “While I am not appearing in the film, my role is executive producer and I strongly believe in the message of this story. Written and directed by Taysha McFarland, “Zaraphath” is about resilience, loneliness and the will to survive, even faced with great adversity.”
For Pritchard, who has a strong faith, spreading a message of hope and resilience is an important part of her life’s work. The peninsula actor and producer with the theatre running through her blood, is a true inspiration, always on the look out to take it forward.
“While I still do the kids’ music class, the odd TV commercials, theatre spots and film appearances, it is wonderful to be able to share a positive message through the medium of film.”
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